Cortez and Star Jackson lived at Restoration Urban Ministries with their two children Amarii and Nevaeh. Prior to moving here, they were living with a grandparent. Unfortunately, health issues forced them to move from that location. Cortez was familiar with Restoration Urban Ministries because his father was a minister here some years ago. He grew up in the Church and knew of God’s love and strength. They first came to RUM a couple of years ago. At that time, Star had a good job and was pregnant with Nevaeh. Once she gave birth to their beautiful daughter, she struggled to keep up with both job and classes at Restoration. When they got tax money that year, they chose to move out on their own. But that’s not the end of their story. Job changes and ultimately, loss of her job, forced them to once again face homelessness.
So, in August of 2015, this beautiful young family moved back to Restoration Urban Ministries. This time, they both chose to work diligently at completing the 11 month program. Each attended a Walk to Emmaus, and both have experienced breakthroughs in their personal walks with God. Cortez says that he now understands how God’s presence is truly vital in their family. Their goals: to own a vehicle, to get their own place, continued relationships with God and strong bonds with their Restoration family. They met those goals and moved out in late 2016. Star indicated that even after they leave, she intends to keep volunteering and attending Church here. When asked where they would be without RUM, Cortez said they would be in the world, drugging, fighting, unhappy, and maybe even divorced. As for their children, they have experienced change too. They are calmer and have a giant extended family here. Finally, when asked what advice they would give other people considering coming to Restoration Urban Ministries, Cortez said to “come with an open heart and mind, and remember it’s basically a job. You have to be willing to work, learn, and participate in order to succeed, but know it is worth it! This is a safe place to work on yourself and your relationship with God. We have been so blessed with clothes, food, dinners, and the outpouring of love from this community and the Champaign community as well.” This family is going to succeed, praise God!